It is time to return to the “Kshanvaad” or the philosophy of momentariness. At its center is the astonishingly ingenious concept of Gautam Buddha that the universe is momentary and does not exist between moments. I have written about this frequently being quite conscious how quantum-like existence stood revealed to Buddha.
I describe this philosophy in Hindi as:
क्षणों के मध्य में जो छुपा है
वही तो हमारा भ्रम है
हमारे अस्तित्व का
(Kshanon ke madhy mein jo chhupa hai
Wahi to hamara bhram hai
Hamare astitv ka)
What hides between moments
Is our illusion
Of our existence
I am as interested in the philosophy of momentariness as I am in quantum physics because both in their own way deal with an unresolved realm at the Kshan/quantum level. It is not my case that there is any intellectual affinity between the two. One was conceived of by the staggering mind of Buddha over 2500 years ago while the other a collective result of the work done by Niels Bohr, Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrödinger and Werner Heisenberg in the early 20th century.
I find Kshanvaad calming in a strange way. Swinging from moment to moment like on vines in a surreal jungle of time is exhilarating. A vast majority of us negotiates swinging on vines for quite a long duration; some of us miss and fall in the void of illusion that we call death.
If the universe and the experience of the universe, including our own individual existence, is nothing but forever flowing discrete moments, then what is all this frenzy about anything? This has been my default response to everything in life so far. Of course, there have been times in recent years when familial responsibilities trigger a baser level response but as a single self, I have no particular response to anything.
‘Kshanvaad’ is part of the overarching Buddhist idea of Anitya or Impermanence. Those who believe in the traditional God-Us dynamic, as in most religions of the world, feel rather unsettled by the idea of Impermanence/Momentariness and hence perpetual fluidity of existence, its origin, its meaning and its resolution. As in quantum physics, we never really catch the essence of our existence. I have never felt unsettled by this. I ride discrete moments of existence like a highly skilled surfer or a vine leaper.
Some day I will write about the difficulty in the idea of Kshanika as to whether those moments are separable from the unfolding event, life and the universe if you will. I suppose this is enough esoterica for a Saturday morning. For me though it just moments that keep passing leaving an afterglow that too fades.